Sertraline is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living. Sertraline is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural substance (serotonin) in the brain.
How to use Sertraline HCL
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using sertraline and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily either in the morning or evening. The tablet or liquid form of this medication may be taken with or without food. The capsule form is usually taken with food. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules.
The liquid form of this medication must be mixed with another liquid before use. Just before taking, carefully measure the dose using the medicine dropper provided. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. Mix the dose with a half cup (4 ounces/120 milliliters) of water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, lemonade, or orange juice. Do not use other liquids to mix this drug. The mixture may appear cloudy, which is normal and harmless. Drink all of the mixture right away. Do not prepare a supply in advance.
If you are taking this medication for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take this drug every day of the month or for only the 2 weeks before your period until the start of your period.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Keep taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, headache, tiredness, sleep changes, and brief feelings similar to electric shock. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
Nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, increased sweating, diarrhea, upset stomach, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, decreased interest in sex, decrease in sexual ability (ejaculation delay), muscle cramps/weakness, shaking (tremor), unusual weight loss.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, black/bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, eye pain/swelling/redness, widened pupils, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night, blurred vision).
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.
Rarely, males may have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 or more hours. If this occurs, stop using this drug and get medical help right away, or permanent problems could occur.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.